TURKEY SAYS READY TO HELP US INITIATIVE TO CAPTURE DAESH CAPITAL RAQQA

ANKARA, -- President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is ready to join any initiative proposed by the United States to capture the Daesh stronghold in Syria, as Turkish-backed forces took more Syrian land from the militant group.

Obama floated the idea of joint action with Turkey to capture Raqqa during talks between the two leaders at a G20 summit in China, Erdogan said, according to Wednesday's edition of Turkey's Hurriyet daily.

Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria on Aug 24 to clear Daesh from its border and to prevent territorial gains by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara believes has links to Kurdish insurgents fighting on its soil.

"Obama wants to do some things together concerning Raqqa in particular," Erdogan told reporters on his plane that arrived early on Tuesday, referring to Daesh's de facto capital. He was speaking after meetings in China with Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.

"We stated that would not be a problem from our perspective. We said, 'Let our soldiers come together, whatever is necessary will be done'," the Turkish president said, adding that a specific Turkish role would depend on further talks.

U.S. officials have welcomed Turkish efforts to dislodge Daesh from Syrian strongholds but voiced concern when Turkish troops engaged fighters aligned to the YPG, a force Washington sees as a valuable ally in battling militants.

Turkish-backed forces clashed with YPG fighters in the initial stages of the two-week old Turkish incursion into Syria, but have since shifted their focus onto territory held by Daesh and captured a string of villages.

Turkey's military said that three Turkish soldiers were killed and four others were wounded when two tanks were hit by rockets fired by Daesh.

The military also said the Free Syrian Army, a loose-knit rebel force backed by Turkey, had taken six more villages, also located in Islamic State-held areas.

Turkey and its rebel allies now control a 90-km stretch of land on the Syrian side of the border and are pushing south.

Source: Nam News Network